Install Snaps backup or export and relocation to new PC


Hi Folks,

So far my Google Foo has failed me in answering this question. I have seen similar questions but just about moving to another directory etc. I am about to build a new PC and want to take all of the existing snaps I have installed along with their configuration and move them to the new PC. Is there a mechanism to export or backup all snaps and their configuration to be installed on the new system? Any and all input here would be greatly appreciated.




There is nothing automated that would do the whole thing with just one command, but it is possible.

Let’s say you’ve got two computers, ana and bob. You’ve got a bunch of snaps installed in ana, and you want to have the same snaps, and the same config and etc., in bob. First of all, install snapd in bob. Check that snap list tells you there are no snaps (if there are some snaps you need to be more careful with the copying so as not to override things, hopefully you can figure that out).

After that the easiest is probably this: copy the snap cache, then get a list of snaps on ana, copy it to bob, and install all those snaps:

ana:~/ sudo scp -r /var/lib/snapd/cache/ bob.local:
ana:~/ snap list | awk '!/disabled/{print $1}' > ana.list
ana:~/ scp ana.list bob.local:
ana:~/ ssh bob.local
bob:~/ sudo mv -v cache/* /var/lib/snapd/cache/
bob:~/ snap install $( cat ana.list )

then, you take a ‘snapshot’ of all the data on ana, copy it to bob and restore it there (just to be on the safe side, make sure you’ve closed all snap apps and stopped all snap services—in bash you can do the latter with just snap stop M-*).

So, take a snapshot on ana, copy it to bob, restore it there (depending on your setup you might need sudo for part or all of this):

ana:~/ snap save
Set  Snap                                      Age    Version                           Rev    Size    Notes
59   black                                     5m29s  19.3b0+git51.g1bbb01b             5      6.17kB  -
59   bofh                                      5m30s  0.1                               1        363B  -
[... snip ...]
59   word-salad                                5m29s  0.1                               20       250B  -
59   yq                                        5m30s  2.4.0                             352      253B  -

that 59 is important, you use it to copy it:

ana:~/ sudo scp /var/lib/snapd/snapshots/59_*.zip bob.local:
ana:~/ ssh bob.local
bob:~/ sudo mv 59_*.zip /var/lib/snapd/snapshots/
bob:~/ snap restore 59
bob:~/ sudo rm /var/lib/snapd/snapshots/59_*.zip

the last step is done because snapd on bob will, at some point in time, happily create its own snapshots set 59 and it might conflict with the one you’ve dumped in there.

One (perhaps obvious) caveat: if a snap writes outside of the ~/snap/<snapname>/ directory, either via an interface (like home, removable-media, personal-files, etc., etc.), or via being a devmode or classic snap, then this data won’t be picked up by snap save, and so won’t be restored by snap restore.

For this to work you need bob to be able to access the internet. If you can’t, you can use snap known on ana to get all the assertions, and then feed to bob via snap ack. You’d use GO_FLAGS_COMPLETION=1 snap known "" to get the list of assertion types, then iterate over that with snap known <type>, save all that to a file, and pipe it into snap ack on bob. That should work.


(not the commands, we test those thousands of times a day – i mean using them to transfer things between machines like this is untested. None of it should be destructive though; please let me know how it goes!)